Posts tagged alp

Gough Whitlam 1916–2014

Gough Whitlam in 1957

Ladies and gentleman, we may well say “God save the Queen”, because nothing will save the Governor-General!

One one the great progressive Prime Ministers in Australian history. Both my parents, but especially my mum, loved what he did.

At the time, he granted exemptions for military conscription, ended Australian involvement in the Vietnam War, abolished university fees and voted for sanctions against apartheid South Africa. Thanks to his 1970s cabinet, Australia has universal healthcare, recognises Australian Aboriginal land titles, abolished the death penalty, allows for no-fault divorce, has some of the world’s strongest consumer protections, and a managed national parks system.

As Lindsay Tanner so eloquently wrote in 2011:

Whitlam and his government changed the way we think about ourselves. The curse of sleepy mediocrity and colonial dependency, so mercilessly flayed in 1964 by Donald Horne in The Lucky Country, was cast aside. Outdated social attitudes were brutally confronted. The tribal conservatism of the ’50s that had been slowly eroded by prolonged prosperity was unable to withstand this concerted assault. The Australia in which Indigenous people were seen as subhuman, women were second-class citizens, censorship of artistic work was commonplace, nature was solely for exploitation, electoral laws were rigged and community leaders were rewarded with knighthoods was relegated to the history books.

It’s hard to imagine a modern Australia without Mr Whitlam’s contributions. RIP.

News coverage and articles

Bill Shorten’s Australian budget reply

I think the Hon Leader of the Opposition pulled off a great performance. Looks like most of the people in the gallery agreed too.

Mark Latham on the left

Towards the end of his article in the Australian Financial Review:

In so many areas, the left is being forced to deal with the byproducts of its own success – achievements within the capitalist system that have generated knock-on problems.

At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, there were two great socialist goals: widespread economic ownership and universal education. The first has produced a highly materialistic society (undermining traditional left-wing values of compassion and collectivism), while the second has, perversely enough, encouraged anti-enlightenment on climate change.

He argues with greater education, we've become dabblers in many fields without becoming experts, which predisposes us to be sceptical of traditional sources of authority, such as the scientific community. Interesting idea.

No internet filter change under Gillard

No Filter, No Censorship, No Great Firewall of Australia

I predicted recently that having Julia Gillard as our new PM wasn't going to affect the party's plan for a mandatory internet filter, but that I wanted to be proven wrong.

zdnetaustralia: Conroy confims that the filter is still going ahead, despite a change of leader.

First time I'm right about something, and it's not something I wanted. Sh*t.

The Great Australian and Chinese Firewalls

No Filter, No Censorship, No Clean Feed, No Great Firewall of Australia

"This is a fabrication. We all know [Australian currency] can be used to buy food, drink, houses, and cars. And it can also be used to buy drugs, guns, ammunition, and even prostitutes. Can you say that the [Aussie Dollar] is illegal and committing obscene acts?"

That in fact wasn't a quote regarding the upcoming Great Firewall of Australia, it was originally about the Great Firewall of China. That the same point can be made for both should be terrifying.

Great Firewall of Australia will happen

No Filter, No Censorship, No Clean Feed, No Great Firewall of Australia

It's that nonsensical idea we thought common sense and overwhelming evidence against its effectiveness would kill once and for all, but here we are on the brink of the introduction of the Great Firewall of Australia. Whooptie-friggen-do.

From Liam Tung's ZDnet Australia article Mandatory ISP filter due mid-2011:

Mandatory ISP filtering legislation will be introduced around the middle of 2010, after which there will be a one year period to implement and activate the filtering technology.

Also from ZDNet Australia, Colin Ho made similar remarks to what I've been saying about Australia's global standing in his article EFA: Filtering 'damages Australia's reputation'

Civil rights and online free speech lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) today criticised the government’s internet filtering report, claiming civil rights implications should be the focus rather than the technology’s impacts on internet speed and performance.

"It damages Australia’s reputation as a free and open democracy and as a technologically advanced and savvy 21st century country" ~ EFA vice president Colin Jacobs

I've talked about this issue many times before using the nocleanfeed and great australian firewall tags.

In case you're unclear as to what my response has consistently been throughout this debacle, allow me to demonstrate with the help of my friend Kyon from Haruhi Suzumiya fame.

Kyon frustrated

League tables will come to Australia

Julia Gillard's ALP website

The Aussie government seems to be going ahead with their plans for their MySchool website that will publish school marks and rankings. In an interview on Lateline I just watched, Julia Gillard assured us all league tables would not be generated. Unfortunately, she's wrong.

I think what she meant to say was the Australian Government would not be generating league tables. As Alex and I discussed on Twitter, put enough statistics and information online and someone will come along and make a mashup of it. As soon as this MySchool site goes online, it won't be a question of if league tables are generated with the published data by third parties, but when.

I really wonder sometimes if politicians in governments such as Australia's have any idea of the implications of their policies. Sometimes their actions make me wonder!

Australia 2007 – No more John Howard!

Kevin Rudd wins 2007 Australian federal elections!

This isn't a political blog, and I love screenshots, so instead of writing up a long dry post about Australian politics I'm just going to post some images. The gist of it: The coalition's and John Howard's reign of conservative evil has ended: Kevin Rudd and Labor won the election! Yay!

Hopefully we can look forward to pulling Aussie troops out of Iraq (why did John Howard support George W. Bush?), improving the technology and education sectors, finally combatting global warming and critically improving Australia's relationship with Asia, all of which John Howard genuinely screwed up. Political promises being what they are, right? ;-)


Kevin Rudd wins 2007 Australian federal elections!

Kevin Rudd wins 2007 Australian federal elections!


The ABC Australia 2007 elections page

The Wikipedia Australia 2007 election page

Australia 2007 – Voting Green!

Senator Bob Brown Senator Bob Brown

I just came back from the Australian High Commission on Napier Rd here in Singapore after casting my vote in the 2007 Australian federal elections!

If you don't know much about Australian politics, John Howard of the Liberal party (liberal doesn't mean the same thing here as it does in the United States, the Liberal party is "conservative") has been in power for over a decade now and basically acted like George W. Bush's other sidekick on most things such as the Iraq war, rejecting the Kyoto protocol, backwards views on immigration and native Australians, not to mention various scandals… and the fact he has no charisma at all which is very embarrassing when he goes overseas!

The other major party is the Labor party which shares many things in common with Labour in the UK. The leader Kevin Rudd seems to have his head screwed on a lot better than Howard especially when it comes to education and technology, so I voted for Labor #2.

But as usual I voted for The Greens as number 1, headed by Senator Bob Brown. Ever since the Democrats have faded from relevancy The Greens have been a vocal minority. Some of their stances on issues are obviously quite controversial, but I find myself agreeing with everything they do. It's like voting without your conscience getting pissed off at you for voting for the lesser of two evils when you vote Coalition or Labor.

And there ends my coverage of the Australian 2007 federal elections. All contained in one post, not bad right?